Wales have opened up with three wins - and the Triple Crown - in this season's championship, while Italy have suffered a hat-trick of defeats.
And despite the Azzurri boss making seven changes following a 42-10 defeat against Ireland last time out, Italy will arrive at the Millennium Stadium as rank outsiders.
Six previous Cardiff visits have produced an average scoreline of 39-14 in Wales' favour, and a similar outcome is widely anticipated this time around.
"Wales are the strongest team in the tournament," Brunel said.
"They have a lot of quality. They reached the World Cup semi-finals and could have gone further than that.
"They have rhythm, they are accustomed to playing together and they possess so many great players.
"It will be an interesting challenge for us, especially for our defence, which needs to be better than it was in Dublin."
Brunel's most notable switch sees the return of goal-kicking wing Mirco Bergamasco, who has recovered from a shoulder injury that put his Test career in cold storage after the World Cup.
Bergamasco booted the winning penalty when Italy beat France last season, although Brunel has yet to decide if he will be given that responsibility or hand it to recalled fly-half Kristopher Burton.
"Mirco Bergamasco is well, he is fit and has recovered well from his shoulder operation," added Brunel, who also dismissed any fears about skipper Sergio Parisse's fitness.
"Parisse is fine - the problem with his hand is resolved.
"He will play with a protection to his thumb, but he has worked well in training, including the contact sessions."
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